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VR Experience Starship Commander Unveiled by Microsoft

The virtual reality (VR) industry is constantly striving for new ways to immerse players in virtual worlds, but seldom seen in videogames are voice controls. Now Human Interact, a studio only formed a year ago, alongside Microsoft have revealed the first look at its debut VR project, Starship Commander.

Starship Commander is choose-your-own-adventure VR narrative where players don’t use gamepad or motion controllers, all the interactions are controlled through speech. As the name suggests, players are the commander of a spaceship which is on a secret mission as part of a massive intergalactic war.

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The experience utilises Custom Speech Service (formerly CRIS), part of the Microsoft Cognitive Services collection to allow a lifelike interaction with the videogame. The studio used Microsoft’s software due to the ability to train it with a custom script.

“We were able to train the Custom Speech Service on keywords and phrases in our game, which greatly contributed to speech recognition accuracy,” said Adam Nydahl, founder and principal artist at Human Interact on the Microsoft blog. “The worst thing that can happen in the game is when a character responds with a line that has nothing to do with what the player just said. That’s the moment when the magic breaks down.”

“Using the Custom Speech Service, we were able to cut the word error rate in half without sacrificing any latency,” adds Alexander Mejia, founder and Creative Director at Human Interact. “It responds as soon as a person stops speaking, which is incredible.”

Starship Commander is currently in development for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive although no release date has been set yet. For any further Starship Commander updates, keep reading VRFocus.